Brooklyn landlord fined for crumbling property in The Hole avoids scrutiny for rundown residence only blocks away

Gothamist, Sophia Chang, June 5, 2023

A landlord under investigation for “unlivable” conditions at his Brooklyn apartment building has avoided scrutiny for a rundown property nearby. Housing advocates say the contrasting outcomes are an example of how weak rules and inconsistent enforcement leave vulnerable tenants with few options.

Justin Ramirez and his two young children share a bedroom inside a house on Blake Avenue on the Brooklyn-Queens border, where leaky walls and ceiling have mold and construction debris blocks an overflowing cesspool hatch in the driveway. Hoses – adorned with an air freshener – serve as plumbing connected to a shower in the bathroom.

“It’s devastating,” Ramirez said. “I got my kids there. That’s the reason I want to get out of here. They could be getting sick.”

The house is owned by Frank Sollecito, the landlord who recently was issued a slew of violations for conditions at another property three blocks away on Amber Street, in the same flood-prone neighborhood known as The Hole.

Like the Blake Avenue house, tenants at Sollecito’s Amber Street apartment building have complained about what they called “unlivable” conditions like mushrooms growing out of a moldy patch on a bedroom wall, overflowing sewage and roach and rat infestations. These complaints have resulted in dozens of violations, and Sollecito has been fined more than $12,000.

Read More: Gothamist